Metal detecting to find coins

Locating Coins with a Metal Detector

What to look for when selecting a coin detector.

Remember the news story about the amateur metal detecting enthusiast who unearthed a massive haul of more than 10,000 Roman coins on his first ever treasure hunt? The lucky 30-year-old discovered one of the largest coin hoards ever to be found in a farmer's field near Shrewsbury, in Shropshire. They were silver and bronze 'nummi' coins, dating from between 240AD and 320AD. That find would be enough to get anybody motivated to take up the hobby of metal detecting!

Coin Hunting or 'Coin Shooting' as it's often called, is a very exciting hobby AND it can easily be profitable. Finding just one gold piece or a rare coin can pay for the cost of the metal detector. When it comes to coin hunting, there are some places that are known to be successful hot spots. Among them riverbanks, woods, beaches and wide-open ploughed fields tend to produce valuable coins. You just have to be willing to take the time to unearth them. How do you begin? First, you need to select a metal detector that is best suited to your needs.

What is the Difference between Low and High-priced Metal Detectors?

There are different types of metal detectors. For example, general purpose detectors are good for coins, jewellery and relics or you can buy a unit that is especially designed just for gold nugget hunting. Most metal detector manufacturers provide a large selection of general purpose detectors since it is the most popular type of detecting.

Generally speaking, the higher the price, the deeper a particular machine will detect. Higher priced units offer higher quality and more gadgets and options as well as better overall function. If your needs are modest a low-priced general purpose model may suit you well. If your needs are a bit more advanced or if you are looking to get into the water or out to the gold fields, you might need to spend a bit more.

Regardless of the price, discrimination is an important feature to have for metal detecting coins. Discrimination is a feature that determines what type of metal you have detected and rejects unwanted metal you are not interested in finding like a rusty old nail.

Metal Detecting a field

Above: Michael Bernzweig of advises customers that coins can often be found at riverbanks, woods, beaches and in wide-open ploughed fields.

Metal detector pinpointer

Customers of often enjoy using a hand held pinpointing metal detector like the Garrett Pro-Pointer to locate coins in the earth. This small hand-held device greatly speeds recoveries and removes the chance of damaging a coin during recovery.

Here are features you can expect to find on a coin metal detector, ranging from inexpensive to pricey.

Low budget: If you're thinking about buying your first metal detector and are unsure where to start, affordable beginner metal detectors typically range from £90 to £150. Even though they are cheaper than high-end detectors, these units will find gold, silver and a variety of coins. Inexpensive metal detectors may not detect very small objects or tell you much about them. But they usually offer a comfortable design, audio tone target identification; some models feature visual identification, which displays the target type and depth in inches.

Mid-range budget: Mid-level metal detectors typically range from £200 to £400 and they obviously feature more bells & whistles. Regardless of manufacturer, these models offer extreme depth and performance and are usually suitable for both land and in some cases underwater use. In addition to the features listed above, mid-range metal detectors may provide advanced visual and audible target identification, high-resolution iron discrimination, fast ground balancing (quickly balances detector in mineralized soil) and electronic pinpointing (for precision locating a target).

High budget: If you have a higher budget and are not afraid of electronic gadgetry, you can definitely find an elite detector for your money! These metal detectors offer you a lot more control over your detecting. Most of the really high-end detectors are best used by someone with experience, since they are more complicated to operate. By price, they typically range from £450 to £2000. Among the specialty features, you may see an extremely lightweight design, a large variety of sensitivity controls and a remote LCD display screen (this will visually display a comprehensive overview of your target). Many high-end metal detectors feature multiple search modes (choose between instant or manual ground cancellation) and some are even waterproof up to 80 meters deep.

You can learn more about specific metal detectors online at in their metal detector learning library online. Experts list their top picks for coin hunting. You can either select “Shop by Usage” and choose “Coins & Jewelry” or “Shop by Product Features.” When you select “compare,” the site will show you a side-by-side comparison chart. No matter how you choose to enjoy the hobby, locating coins with a metal detector can be both a rewarding and profitable pastime.


About the author: Michael Bernzweig manages in Southborough, MA (They Ship worldwide). He has written extensively on the subject of metal detecting since the mid 1980’s. He has traveled the world in his pursuit of educating, exploring and advising others in the proper use of metal detectors. Outside of the business he enjoys mentoring students, being involved in the community and spending time with his family.